The impending release of the biopic Blonde, due to come out on Netflix on September 23rd, 2022, has Ana de Armas playing the titular role of Monroe and has reignited the fascination that fans have had with the ’50s star. Mysterious, gorgeous, yet tragic — Marilyn Monroe has always been the subject of much fascination and interest for decades.
Her life has been scrutinized and mulled over by generations, yet there are new discoveries about her past that come to the surface every now and then. As fans wait with bated breath for the de Armas-led biopic to release, they can dig into these little-known tidbits about the mega star’s life and times.
It’s no secret that Norma Jeane Baker had a tumultuous childhood, but the extent of her suffering isn’t known too well. Her mother, Gladys, was in and out of psychiatric hospitals, which meant that Monroe was in the foster care system almost her entire life.
She was reportedly passed through 12 sets of foster parents and even ended up in an orphanage once. Her last adoptive parents were Grace and Erwin “Doc” Goddard, who eventually moved to California, which meant that Marilyn would have been in danger of going back into the foster system.
Fans are aware of Monroe’s famous partners Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, but her first marriage was actually to a young James Dougherty, at the young age of 16. Audiences would learn that Marilyn Monroe decided to go ahead with the big decision to avoid falling back into the foster care cycle.
Dougherty, a worker in an aircraft factory, wed Marilyn in 1942 and they went on honeymoon in Ventura County. In 1946, he was drafted into the Merchant Marines and Monroe started pursuing her Hollywood career. They split soon after.
Audrey Hepburn and her iconic black dress and pearls in Breakfast At Tiffany’s were originally meant for Marilyn Monroe. Truman Capote, the author of the eponymous book, had always wanted Marilyn, a “kindred spirit,” to play the role of Holly Golightly, a woman who was a little rough around the edges and rose from nothing.
However, Capote’s casting suggestion was discarded by Paramount Pictures, who eventually cast Hepburn for the legendary role. It seems that Monroe’s mentors and coaches, the Strasbergs, convinced her not to take the role of “a lady of the evening.”
The blonde star’s beauty and acting chops are not the only things she is known for — her sultry, breathy manner of speaking is another unforgettable trait about her. Monroe apparently had a stutter since her childhood, which would obviously cause problems in the industry in which she wanted to thrive.
Marilyn Monroe’s signature rasp was a part of all her best movies, and it helped her overcome her speech issues. Unfortunately, her stutter returned during the filming of her last movie Something’s Got to Give and she was ultimately fired from set.
December 1953 marked the momentous occasion of the release of the very first Playboy magazine, and none other than Marilyn Monroe was on the cover. The actress had not posed for the magazine, but Hugh Hefner licensed her image from a calendar company.
The centerfold. which featured her nude image, was christened “Sweetheart of the Month.” Unwittingly, Monroe heralded an era of magazines that featured countless “Bunnies” on the cover and inside but Hefner never even met Monroe in real life.
The Some Like It Hot actress was devoid of parental figures for a long time, but Paula and Lee Strasberg were the closest she had to family. Lee was her acting coach, who also gave the eulogy after Monroe passed away. She also bequeathed all her assets to the Strasbergs, which still continue to fund the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute.
Norma Jeane even went through psychoanalysis upon Strasberg’s request and they were the same family who advised her against Breakfast At Tiffany’s.
Not everything about the golden girl of Hollywood was about glitz and glamor. Marilyn loved food, and she could even whip up some delicious fare. According to Taste of Home, the silver screen queen loved steak of all kinds, with raw carrots to munch on.
Lamb chops were something she would broil herself, and she enjoyed cabbage dishes, Thanksgiving stuffing, hotdogs, hamburgers, glazed carrots, liver, and chocolate caramel sundaes.
At the height of her career, Monroe sought to hone her skills, which was why she would go to acting class in Malin Studios and sit in the back of the class. According to Vanity Fair, she would arrive without makeup or fanfare, and carry out her exercises as told.
Many of these skits would lean on memory to further one’s acting prowess, and it has been recorded that the beautiful movie star once wept while remembering an old incident.
The same Vanity Fair piece describes the detailed, and often tragic written and typed records of Marilyn Monroe’s life, which she started recording in 1951. Mostly, she used leather-bound diaries to write in, in a thin cursive font that leaned forward.
Littered with spelling mistakes and often manic-sounding sentences, her letters and diary entries gave fans a unique insight into the star’s private, inner life. The book Fragments features excerpts of these records.
Friends with Truman Capote, Carl Sandburg and Saul Bellow, Monroe loved books and reading. She had over 400 books in her private library, and her most loved photos were when she was reading. James Joyce and Heinrich Heine were regular reading for her.
Monroe depended on writing and poetry to express herself, and her musings were quite beautiful to read. She wrote of her partners and her loneliness, in equally romantic and dark tones.
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Author: Fawzia Khan